About two weeks ago, the leadership of Lagos State House of Assembly, LSHA, made a statement which import and tenor would have been laughable if not that it was scandalous. The spokesperson for the Assembly was responding to the fallout of the new Act passed by the Zamfara State House of Assembly. The mainframe of the Act throws into the gutters of infamy the atrocious foolishness of heaping huge sums as pensions and allowances on former governors and their deputies simply because they spent four or eight years luxuriating over hapless states of the Nigerian federation as chief executives (frankly, more often as chief executioners).
Obasa and his colleagues would not be stampeded to follow in the path that many Nigerians praised as a reasonable and patriotic reaction to stem the fast-dwindling resources of the nation; the spiraling collapse of aging infrastructures; dispiriting graduate unemployment; dilapidating educational facilities; mounting insecurity, and many more sad news.
We had hoped that, at long last, some amongst our “leaders” would somehow “borrow themselves brain”, and start devising ways to cut cost and stop wastage of inadequate resources and manpower.
We had hoped that the spirit of Zamfara would spread to other states where insensitive legislatures had burdened their states with humongous financial servitude to delusional potentates who pretend to have “served” (rather than starved) their states as governors, et al, in the past 20 years of democratic governance.
Alas, we have grossly over-rated the sensibilities, sophistication and intelligence of our lawmakers. They would rather build more traps and holes to push their states further into debt and impoverishment, than deny their godfathers and mentors the extravagant lollipops of state-sponsored pickpocketing.
The shameless parade of the worst representatives of us as leaders of thoughts and in politics easily categorises us as an endangered and unfortunate society. Our so-called leaders are hauled from “hallowed” chambers of legislatures into detention centres; clamped into jail “with hard labour”… several high officials of government ministries, agencies, and departments are seeking injunctions to avoid warrants of forfeitures, arrests, committals, etc. But, I digress.
Speaking for Obasa and his mates, here is Tunde Braimoh, Chairman, House Committee on Information and Strategy, spitting vapid legalese: “The Supreme Court had made it clear several times that no arm of government can repeal the constitutional provisions of another arm of government. Therefore legislators make laws that are in tune with the yearnings and dynamics of their society. Until another legislature comes to alter, review or amend the law, the law is meant to be obeyed. The judiciary cannot pronounce that a law by the state is unconstitutional unless such state law is contradictory to the constitution”.
The tone and imagery of the Assembly’s undisguised philistinism may mislead a casual reader of Nigerian absurdities to assume the spokesman was talking about his family inheritance or some ancestral patrimony willed to the legislators to dispense in endless jollification!
Let someone remind the Speaker and his fellow travelers that they do not speak for everyone in their constituencies…and not every Lagosian is cartwheeling in ecstasy at the squandering of resources on few men and women privileged with the unique grace of unleashing “double jeopardy” (eating from both sides of the mouth) on the state, in and out of power.
History will treat the flippancy and insensitivity of the Assembly dwellers with the same casual aggression and absolute cock-sureness. In a time not too far away, I believe that common sense, responsible governance and truly representative democracy will overcome the land, and chase pretenders and charlatans far away from the vicinity of the treasury, halls of legislative activities and corridors of executive powers. It is a matter of time.
Work/Wife 4: Success Can Be Dangerous
When the circle of my friends was enlarged with Dele Momodu, Kayode Ajala, Dokun Abolarin (now a king), Gbenga Okegbenro, and few others, it was extremely difficult to take my leave when gists, ribaldry and drinks were flowing. Sometimes, even when the hard part of nurturing the magazine had subsided, it gave more room to socialise with friends and make new ones on a larger scale. We became fixtures at “hightables” of musical “raves-of-the-moment” like Shina Peters, Wasiu Ayinde (he has rebranded many times now that I’m no longer certain of his current moniker), etc. Top clubs like Nightshift, Lords, Ozone, DeRoof, K’s Place, etc, were ever-ready watering spots.
It was always difficult to return home after such binges; we’d often return to the office, doze away the rest of the night, refresh and change dresses and resume for the ongoing production process. It was so much fun when you enjoy what you do; but even more sensational when you actually enjoy yourself while doing it. The wife may jolly well go and hang – that is the clear picture the inconsiderate and thoughtless young husband usually splashes across the delicate heart of a pinning wife…except the grace of God intervenes.
When success came barely two years after we started Fame Weekly, it was clear to all of us that we had to make more “sacrifices” to sustain the success. Now, I know that the pursuit of success may be tough; but the sustenance of success is the ultimate destroyer of human relationships – if the God factor is not evident. There was no day I was not embedded in my job; even as a devout church-goer who knew that Sunday was a “Sabbath” that should be set free for rest. I would be in a church pastored by a sound and vocal pastor; however, while others were reading the Bible passages the pastor was quoting, I would be editing print-out pages of the next edition of Fame. With one eye (not literarily) closed in prayer (I have the capacity to “amen” correctly and consistently without listening); the other eye would open to cross more T’s and dot more I’s. I could not allow anything to frustrate the deadline (I must lead by example… even God, it appeared, could not deter me from fulfilling my assignment).
It was in that state of mind my wife laboured to play her role as my companion for the first three years. By 1994, after my return from detention arising from a story written against the late Gen. Sanni Abacha (in the giddy days of struggles to restore the glory of June 12, 1993 presidential election won by Bashorun M. K. O. Abiola) I began to reassess my relationships. I became partially “born-again”, in the loosest terms. I had stopped smoking after the first birthday of my first daughter; I decided to take the deadline-beating work home instead of working in the office (where one could easily dash down to one or two nightclubs to unwind for few hours).
The remarkable thing I noticed was that during this period, my wife’s weapon against my ‘workaholism’ was intense prayers, fasting and supplication – of course, mostly unknown to me. And she got what she prayed for – eventually. So, my advice to everyone in that position: when he’s behaving contrary to your expectations, don’t fight him, don’t seek elders and parents to vent your pains on; don’t lock him out of your heart or your bosom; don’t deprive him of what he is entitled to; don’t get even or mean…go on bended knees, and speak to the Father who is able to calm surging waves. Speak to the One who is able to stir limpid channels. Go to God, and He’ll surely and steadily bring your man to the right bus stop. Ultimately, He never fails to make it work!